Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

The Road Ahead

Picture of a black kitten in ecstasy

2010 came upon me so fast that I feel like I have whiplash. I feel like I barely touched the tip of my to be read pile which grows exponentially every month as I receive more books to review and I buy even more books for my ever expanding digital library. For some reason, despite all the gloom about publishing in 2009 with its layoffs, its reduced print runs, the attempts to game ebook releases, the Twilight mania, I enter 2010 really excited about romance books and the romance genre.

The online community is burgeoning. There seem to be new voices popping up everywhere. Raven at Raven’s Reviews is a new blog focusing on African American romance. Tyrion Frost has a thoughtful blog about the fantasy subgenre. Rosario came back to reviewing regularly after taking a year or more off to do real life things like study. Keishon helped readers to tackle their book pile with her TBR challenge. I lasted three months but I hope Keishon does this again.

For all the online contretemps, I feel like the online community is really doing a great job of representing the best of the romance genre and by that I mean showing others that intelligent and articulate women read romance. Ending the year reading the diary on DailyKos about being a romance reader, unashamed, was wonderful.

The rise of digital marketplace presents an exciting opportunity for readers and authors. New devices are being released to shock and awe us. PixelQi’s innovative transreflective screen will make its appearance on several devices in 2010. I’m engaging in my own personal countdown for the iUnicorn (also known as Apple’s iSlate Tablet) even though I know that it’s too pricey at $1000 to be anything but a niche item.

The 2000s was a mixed bag of books for me. I fell into a serious reading slump in the mid 2000s, right before I started Dear Author. There was a sameness about the books I was reading. I didn’t feel like my tastes were being reflected in the market and I felt like I was seriously out of step with the majority of readers. I fell out of love with some of my favorite authors, some of whom decided romance was no longer for them and others who were trying to redefine romance genre as something unfamiliar to me.

But the later years in the decade have brought some wonderfully promising young authors to the market like Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook, Ilona Andrews, Julie James, Courtney Milan, Victoria Dahl, to name a few. I’ve discovered how talented category authors are like Sarah Mayberry, Kathleen O’Reilly, Molly O’Keefe. I’ve been purchasing out of print books from Susan Napier and Sharon and Tom Curtis. I’ve read some really marvelous books to be published in 2010 like Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Kiss which I think I’ve read about five times already and the beautiful love story in Pamela Clare’s March release, Naked Edge.

I don’t know of a time in the last decade that I’ve felt as hopeful and as excited about the genre and the romance community as I am now, at the beginning of 2010. I would love to hear from you what you expect to see in 2009 in terms of publishing, the romance genre, the romance community. Are you excited? Full of trepidation? Both? Neither?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

15 Comments

  1. ShellBell
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 05:42:40

    I am, and have always been, an avid reader of romances. I do read other genre but romance books are my main focus. I used to buy a lot of books and would also borrow heavily form my local library until I too went through a major reading slump. Mine started during the mid 1990’s and it lasted until early 2000. I would just reread my favourite books. New releases by my favourite authors seemed repetitive – the same situation, the same heroine etc over and over again. The repetition of the same type of character was downright depressing. Favourite authors became boring, their writing seemed stale and unimaginative. My slump ended when I started reading paranormals in early 2000 – Christine Feehan to be exact. Christine Feehan was my first serious foray into paranormals. At last a new author to obsess over. Then came Sherrilyn Kenyon, JR Ward and Nalini Singh. The excitement was back and there was suddenly a reason to read again. The next exciting step for me was the purchase of my Palm two and half years ago. The purchasing of eBooks lead me to a variety of new authors – Shelly Laurenston, Lauren Dane, Maya Banks, Lora Leigh, Eve Vaughn, Felicity Heaton, Jacquelyn Frank, Lara Adrian – all authors I would never have discovered if not for online message boards and reviews. While my enthusiasm for some authors has waned – Sherrilyn Kenyon, JR Ward – my enthusiasm for reading has not. Digital publishing has resurrected my love of books. I very rarely purchase physical books anymore, 99.9% of my books are eBooks. Bookcase space is no longer a worry and I can carry my whole library with me everywhere. 2010 does give me a measure of excitement that is partially contained by the actions of the publishers – eBook over-pricing, delayed eBook releases and geographical restrictions are the bane of my life. My TBR pile continues to grow (despite my best attempts), as does my wish list and the discovery of new-to-me authors. My hope for 2010 is that a device such as the rumoured Apple tablet does exist and that my favourite authors continue to churn out fabulous books for me to devour.

  2. msaggie
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 07:41:44

    Happy New Year, Jane, and thank you for your post which reflects my own reading experience. And I am so glad that you decided to start Dear Author as I think it complements the other major romance readers’ site that I frequent, AAR. Like you, I really am glad there are many new and good book blogs available now – for commentary and exchange of ideas, as well as for book reviews. I am doubly excited with 2010 as you wrote that you have already read Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Kiss five times! That’s the book that I am most looking forward to this year – but I have to temper myself as too-high expectations can backfire. I think that Dear Author’s championing of the e-book industry is an excellent thing. I love all the industry news (and electronic-related posts) that you keep us all up-to-date with. The economy is going to take some more time to recover, and perhaps the movers in the publishing world will change, but it won’t affect us romance readers that very much – we still will have books that we want to read. So I am hopeful for the next decade.

  3. Mdegraffen
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 08:14:40

    Here’s to a great New year, Jane. With the lat Jan. release of the new Kinsale, I’m already excited about 2010. Also eagerly awaiting the new Lisa Valdez. I don’t have an e-book reader and don’t plan to buy one. It would mean a bill wouldn’t get paid, so that’s a no-brainer.

  4. Lou
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 08:15:17

    I’m very excited by the fact alone that there are some fantastic releases this year: Silver Borne by Patty Briggs, Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews, and Savannah is finally having her story in Waking The Witch by Kelley Armstrong. And that’s just to name a few. :D

    I’m hoping, but I’m probably hoping for too much, that the big publishers will get their heads screwed on the right way in regards to ebooks – not delaying them months after the hardcover release! I’ll be hopping mad if they delay the new Lisa Kleypas titles!

    In general: I hope for less geographical rights – which means more worldwide rights. Yes, hello Penguin and Hachette. You two have been the main culprits I have encountered lately for geographic restrictions.

    Sorry! To keep on the positive side. Did I mention Silver Borne will soon be released…in March? *grins*

  5. Mdegraffen
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 08:18:27

    I wanted to edit my post above but when I clicked to edit the result was so dark it was illegible. Otherwise love the new layout

  6. Jennifer Estep
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 08:20:13

    I’m both. I think (and certainly hope) romance will continue to grow in popularity, especially as the tough economic times continue. I also hope that more folks recognize the terrific writing that goes on in the genre. In general, I’d like to see critics just lighten up. Genre books (romance and otherwise) are just as good as so-called “real” or “important” literary books.

    I don’t know what will happen with e-books, but whatever does, it will have a big impact on traditional publishing. I just hope that traditional publishing doesn’t follow the path of newspapers and start dying a slow death. I’ll admit that I’m not much for e-books. I still prefer the paper format, especially since I spend so much time in front of a screen already. I think it would be a tragedy if there were no more print books and no bookstores to go and browse through them.

    I think the marketplace will get tigther (at least for a while), and that editors will be very picky about what they buy. It’s a scary time to be an author, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    But I’m hopeful about all the great new authors that I have yet to discover. I want everyone’s books to do well (mine included). I think this is the year we should all become divas — because we know that romance rocks and that it’s what all the cool kids are reading. ;-)

  7. gwen hayes
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 10:07:07

    I’m Very excited about 2010 and reading. I have found so many new authors to love in 2009.

  8. Keishon
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 10:21:30

    YES, Keishon actually taking volunteers right now for the tbr challenge…anyone? As for the main topic at hand, I am very excited about 2010. Found a few new authors to enjoy and I look forward to some of the sequels…

  9. Sherry Thomas
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 12:25:59

    I’m totally squeeing at the possibility of a new Bettie Sharpe novella this year.

    Bettie is one of those writers I never would have discovered were it not for the online community. She’s been doing real life stuff and I’ve missed the absolute fierceness of her writing.

    Time to reread Ember.

  10. CupK8
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 12:32:46

    2009 was the year I rediscovered Romance, so I am very excited for 2010! :)

  11. Janine
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 13:40:32

    Ha ha Sherry, I’m reading Bettie Sharpe’s novella as I write this! It’s a play on the “Puss in Boots” fairy tale the same way “Ember” was on Cinderella.

  12. Janine
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 13:44:05

    2009 was a great reading year for me. I am looking forward to so many books in 2010. I think it will be a very exciting year.

    But I’m also worried that the industry’s economic struggles will mean fewer risk-taking books down the road, and more books that play it safe. Not so looking forward to that…

  13. joanne
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 14:08:46

    I've read some really marvelous books to be published in 2010 like Nalini Singh's Archangel's Kiss which I think I've read about five times already

    There is something inherently wicked, depraved, and evil about someone who would toss a statement like this out and expect her readers not to BE GREEN WITH ENVY. I just finished a re-read of Angel’s Blood and I’m soooo ready for the next book.

    I’m always ready for a new year and new publications from favorite authors and hopefully a few (or at least one) new author to add to the TBB list.

  14. MaryK
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 16:36:28

    Nalini Singh's Archangel's Kiss which I think I've read about five times already

    I need an evil eye emoticon.

    I calendar release dates for books I’m looking forward to and 2010 is shaping up to be as expensive as 2009. So far, the second half of the year is kind of empty, but the first half seems fuller than 2009 was.

  15. Janine
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 18:22:02

    I could in theory read Archangel’s Kiss if I could make the time. My schedule is crazy busy right now and all these great books are coming out! Courtney Milan’s, Victoria Dahl’s, Nalini Singh’s and many others sitting in my TBR pile. It’s like some kind of torture to have to put it off!

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